JURIST Legal News

JURIST's legal news service, powered by a team of over 40 law student reporters and editors led by Professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.
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A Hong Kong Court [official website] on Wednesday sentenced Donald Tsang, the former Chief Executive from 2005 to 2012, to 20 months in prison [state media report] for his failure to disclose personal conflicts of interest when his cabinet was considering a broadcasting license application by a Chinese property developer. Tsang faced up to a seven-year sentence and his conviction would have originally called for around 30 months imprisonment. Judge Andrew Chan took Tsang's long public service and reputation into...
The UK Supreme Court [official website] on Wednesday upheld [judgment, PDF] immigration rules that require British citizens have a certain level of income to bring their foreign spouses into Britain. The Minimum Income Requirement [text] rule mandates that a British citizen must have a minimum annual income of at least 18,600 euros in order for their foreign spouse to live with them in Britain. The rules allow for a easy way for the government to assess that the couple can...
The Supreme Court of the Russian Federation [official website] annulled the 2.5 year prison sentence [RAPSI report] of Ildar Dadin, who was the first person to be convicted under a relatively new anti-protest law. Dadin was imprisoned in 2015 under a law that allows the Russian government to press criminal charges against anyone who was caught taking part in a series of unsanctioned protests. According to case files, Dadin was arrested five times during rallies held between August 2014 and...
The US Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF]Wednesday Buck v. Davis [SCOTUSblog materials] in favor of a death row inmate seeking a new sentencing hearing. The inmate, Duane Buck, claims that his own lawyers stated during trial that he was more likely to cause future harm due to the color of his skin. The court ruled that Buck has proven both that he suffered from ineffective assistance of counsel and has shown an entitlement to relief in the form...
The US Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] in Life Technologies Corporation v. Promega Corporation [SCOTUSblog materials] on Wednesday that the supply of a single component in a multi-component patented invention for manufacture overseas does not violate Section 271(f)(1) of the Patent Act [text, PDF]. Section 271 [LII materials] prevents the supply from the US of "all or a substantial portion of the components of a patented invention" for manufacture abroad. Under 271, the supply must actively induce [Patentlyo...
The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Tuesday that Maryland's assault weapons ban is constitutional. A lower court ruling last year found that Maryland's Firearm Safety Act [text, PDF], violated the Second Amendment [text]. Based on the US Supreme Court decision in District of Columbia v. Heller [opinion], the appeals court found that assault weapons are not protected by the Second Amendment. The court also stated that, "some of today's weapons lack constitutional...
A lawsuit [complaint, PDF] was filed against Delaware Governor John Carney [official website] on Tuesday arguing that a provision in the state's constitution [text, PDF] requiring a political balance of judges in the state's courts is unconstitutional. In the complaint, attorney James Adams alleges that the provision, which mandates that nominations be evenly split between the two major parties, excludes minority parties and is therefore a violation of the freedom of political association guaranteed by the US Constitution. Adams claims...
South Africa's High Court [official website] on Wednesday blocked [judgment] the government's attempt to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website]. High Court Judge Phineas Mojapelo found that the "decision by the national executive to deliver the notice of withdrawal of South Africa from the Rome Statute of the ICC without prior parliamentary approval is unconstitutional and invalid." Justice Minister Michael Masutha said the denial was mostly procedural. Masutha went on to say that this ruling merely amounted...
The US Supreme Court [official website] heard oral arguments Tuesday on the cross-border shooting of a Mexican citizen by a US Border Patrol Agent. In Hernandez v. Mesa [transcript, PDF], the court is considering the extraterritorial application of the Fourth Amendment [text]. The court is also considering the application of qualified immunity depending upon legal status and the application of Bivens v. Six Unknown Federal Narcotics Agents [opinion] in this case. Petitioners argued that Fourth Amendment constraints should apply when...
The lower house of the Dutch parliament on Tuesday voted [vote, in Dutch] 77-72 to approve a bill [text, in Dutch] that would tolerate the cultivation of cannabis. Possessing and buying the drug at shops has been tolerated in the Netherlands but the selling and growing of the drug and selling the plant to the shops has remained illegal. Proponents of the bill have argued that it will allow for quality standards, free up police resources and allow tax revenue....
A judge for the US District Court for the Western District of Texas [official website] issued a preliminary injunction [text, PDF] on Tuesday to halt Texas' plan to cut Medicaid [official website] funding for Planned Parenthood [advocacy website]. The injunction prevents the state from cutting funding until a trial is held. Judge Sam Sparks based his decision heavily on the merits of the case and the evidence presented by the state, the majority of which came from an eight-hour video...
The US Supreme Court [official website] on Wednesday remanded [opinion, PDF] a dispute over an elementary school student's service dog to the lower court. In Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools [SCOTUSblog materials], a child with cerebral palsy attempted to bring her trained service dog with her to kindergarten. The school stated that the school staff could perform all of the required services that the service dog would perform, thus meaning that the service dog was not required at the school....
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe [official website] vetoed legislation [press release] Tuesday that would have defunded Planned Parenthood [advocacy website] and other women's health providers. HB 2264 [official summary] sought to remove funding from any provider that performed any abortion or abortion related services from receiving any federal funding including medicare coverage. The governor vetoed the bill in hopes of stabilizing health care services.Pursuant to Article V, Section 6, of the Constitution of Virginia, I veto House Bill 2264, which would...
The Sri Lankan police [official site] on Monday arrested five military officials in connection with the 2009 death of journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge. The Free Media Movement of Sri Lanka said [press release, in Sinhala] that the those arrested for were responsible for Wickrematunge's death and the abduction of journalist Keith Noyahr. Wickrematunge was known for critiquing the government as part of his duties and an editor for a local newspaper. He was murdered in 2009 during a crackdown on members...
[JURIST] US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly [official websites] officially issued [press release] on Monday two memoranda to the department directing its workforce to implement two executive orders on the enforcement of immigration laws. The first memorandum [text, PDF] implements President Donald Trump's Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvement Policies [executive order]. Kelly directed US Customs and Border Protection [official website] to hire 5,000 additional Border Patrol agents. This memo orders the immediate identification and allocation of...
[JURIST] Human rights groups on Tuesday urged the Thai Army to drop defamation charges against three activists, including the Chair of Amnesty International Thailand, Pornpen Khongkachonkiet, and Anchana Heemmina, founder of Duay Jai Group [advocacy website], and Somchai Homlaor, a human rights lawyer. The activists are being held and face up to seven years in jail for publishing a report which detailed the experiences of 54 former detainees on their treatment by soldiers and the torture they endured. Officials have...
[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] on Tuesday declined to review [docket, PDF] a lethal injection case from Alabama, over the dissent of Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer. The appeal was filed by inmate Tommy Arthur, who was challenging the method of his execution [AP report], claiming that it was difficult for inmates to effectively challenge the method of execution as they were required to identify an alternative and state accepted method as well as a plan for...
[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] granted certiorari [docket] on Tuesday to determine whether a guilty plea waives a defendant's right to challenge the constitutionality of the statute under which he was convicted. The case, Class v. US [docket; cert. petition, PDF], concerns a guilty plea made by Rodney Class to possession of a firearmt. Class lacked counsel at the time of his plea at his own request. The appeals court ruled [opinion, PDF] that because the defendant signed...
[JURIST] The People's Democratic Party (HDP) [party website] of Turkey filed an application [statement] Monday asking the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] to address the continuous and allegedly unlawful imprisonment of the party's co-chairs. Thirteen HDP politicians have been arrested [Al Jazeera report] since November, and 10 of them still await trial. The HDP declared that these allegedly systematic arrests "constitute a violation of the right to freedom and security, freedom of speech and the right to...
The Court of Appeal of England and Wales on Tuesday rejected [text, PDF] a heterosexual couple's legal challenge to the Civil Partnership Act 2004 [text], ruling 2-1 that only same-sex couples may enter into civil partnerships. The court's decision gave the government more time to review the law, which currently prohibits opposite-sex couples from taking advantage of civil partnership arrangements. All three judges stated that the ban could not last indefinitely, giving the government time to review the law. The...

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